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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Artist present their pieces at NMU

Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota all share an important similarity: location. A part of each state lies within the circle of latitude 45 degrees north of the Earth’s equatorial plane. This shared position became the inspiration for Devos Art Museum’s current exhibit, “North of the 45th.”

The exhibit, which opened May 26, features 70 pieces from 67 different artists. Now in its second year, the show is the brain child of curator Melissa Matuscak, who said the idea started as an attempt to make Devos more local.

“When I started the show I was thinking of how to make the museum more regional,” Matuscak said. “I wanted a way to let artists from the outside know about us (in the Upper Peninsula), while at the same time letting other artists from the surrounding areas in.”

The show was opened up to anyone, including professional artists, self-taught artists and even students. Every genre of art was also welcomed, making it possible for every piece to be appreciated based solely on the quality of work, Matuscak said.

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“North of the 45th” is a juried exhibit, meaning someone is selected to choose the displayed pieces through an anonymous process. The juror picked for this particular show had to be living in the Midwest, but not within the same boundaries as the artists. This year MaryAnn Wilkinson, former curator of European modern art and contemporary art at the Detroit Institute of Art, was chosen to select the pieces.

During the judging process, Wilkinson said she looked for a strong technical skill combined with a fresh approach. Although she was judging based only on images sent to her through e-mail, the distinctive approach of each artist was still apparent.

“It’s always a little hard to know what the actual piece looks like while looking at photos of them,” Wilkinson said. “Even through photos I was really impressed by how interesting all the works were . I was looking mainly for things I had never seen before, and these pieces are all unique ways of approaching many different medias.”

Wilkinson added that the location of the artists is an advantage for them. She said the dramatic landscape and shifting seasons are aspects unique to these areas, and artists benefit from having them as inspiration.

“From what I can tell, all the works are very sophisticated approaches to art,” Wilkinson said. “They emphasize that singular way of seeing the world that artists have .They obviously know the art world and have looked at different works, which they display aspects of in their own.”

Matuscak said that while each piece has the location of its artist in common, that is where the similarity ends. She said the exhibit shows artists working in many different ways, and no regional style can be identified.

“Really, the show is all about location … In this area, there are so many people living different lifestyles,” Matuscak said. “Some may live in rural areas, while others live in bigger cities . You can’t look at a piece and discriminate. It’s impossible to tell if the artist lives in a rural community or a larger one.”

Edwin Carter, who graduated from NMU in ’06 with a degree in photography, has both a photography and typography piece displayed in the show. He said the show is a way to recognize local talent, which is something particularly important in the Marquette area.

“Art students at NMU are lucky to have this museum as a venue, but they are also at a disadvantage because it really is the only thing they have to get local artists known,” he said. “This show will hopefully enhance that knowledge, since the Upper Peninsula doesn’t really have much going on with arts and culture.”

He added that while at NMU, he found a distinctive small community within the art department and was honored to be chosen among his peers and professors.

“North of the 45th” will run until July 3, when a closing reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. The reception will include live music by Marquette musician Troy Graham and Houghton band Gratiot Lake Road. There will also be a talk by juror MaryAnn Wilkinson before the reception at 5 p.m. in room AD165 of the Devos. All events are free and open to the public.

“This exhibit offers a really great taste of what’s currently going on artwise in this region,” Matuscak said. “There’s something for everyone . If you walk away from the show not satisfied, you’d have to be a pretty hard person to please.”

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